The SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial B Section teams will have their sights set squarely on working their way into favourable positions to earn possible final berths in two weeks’ time when they take to the field in the penultimate pool round this weekend.
With the B Section teams playing only three round-robin matches and the top teams in Group 1 and Group 2 respectively at the conclusion of the pool stages booking their place in the final, every result counts.
This weekend’s round will feature decisive clashes, with Griquas and SWD both hunting their second wins of the tournament in Group 1 when they cross paths in George on Friday, while 2018 finalists, the Golden Lions, and the Pumas will go head-to-head in Johannesburg in Group 2 for the top spot on their log.
The Limpopo Blue Bulls and Leopards, and Free State and the Griffons, meanwhile, will all target victories after disappointing starts to the season when they meet in Polokwane and Bloemfontein respectively. Another round of defeats for either of these sides, will deal the killer blow to their final aspirations.
The clash between SWD and Griquas is expected to be hard-fought with the sides closely matched on attack and defence. The Kimberley outfit scored five tries to four by SWD in their season-opening encounters, while both sides conceded three tries.
With the hosts having won the last two matches between the teams, they may enter the match with a mental edge, but with both sides eyeing a victory to occupy the top spot in the standings, neither team is expected to give an inch.
The Golden Lions and Pumas also each scored six tries in their first games, but the Pumas leaked four, while the Jozi side conceded one, meaning they will need to tighten up their defence, in particular, going into the clash. The Golden Lions have dominated the outings between the sides in the last two years, coming away with convincing wins, and they will look to maintain this track record in front of their home crowd.
The Leopards will enter their clash against the Limpopo Blue Bulls knowing that they need to deliver a much better performance on attack, in particular, to have a shot at a victory after suffering a big defeat in the opening round. Both sides let themselves down on defence in their last outing, but the Leopards will draw inspiration from their superior attacking form, which earned them a bonus point for tries, and the fact that they emerged victorious against the Limpopo side in the last two seasons.
The clash between the Griffons and Free State is also expected to be tight given the small margins between them on attack and defence in the first round. The visitors, however, will be determined to prove a point against their central neighbours who played in the A Section last season.
SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial B Section fixtures:
Friday 9 August:
14h45: SWD v Griquas – Outeniqua Park, George
Saturday, 10 August:
11h45: Golden Lions v Pumas – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
13h00: Limpopo Blue Bulls v Leopards – University of Limpopo, Polokwane
15h00: Free State v Griffons – Clive Solomon Stadium, Bloemfontein